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Kayaker who drowned in Snoqualmie River was volunteer firefighter, EMT

The Gold Bar Firefighter's Association confirmed that Sam Grafton died Saturday while kayaking near North Bend on the Snoqualmie River. (KOMO News) 

GOLD BAR, Wash. -- Hearts were heavy Sunday as firefighters, friends and community members in Gold Bar learned about the loss of one of their own.

The Gold Bar Firefighter's Association confirmed that Sam Grafton died Saturday while kayaking near North Bend on the Snoqualmie River.

Grafton was with a group of friends on the river when he somehow ended up in the water and drowned, according to rescue crews.

Crews searched the river and a King County Sheriff's Office helicopter helped with the recovery.

According to colleagues, Grafton, who was in his late 20s, was a long-time volunteer firefighter/EMT in Gold Bar and Index.

He was also a rescue technician trained in swift water rescue and high angle rescue.

"He had a zest for life," Heather Chadwick with Snohomish County Fire said.

Colleagues say Grafton was so skilled and knowledgeable that he trained others.

Friends also say he was an expect kayaker.

"Sam traveled all over the world to kayak on the rivers," Chadwick said.

On Sunday, the Gold Bar Firefighters Association posted the following statement on Facebook:

"Your friendship to our community and selfless passion for helping others will never be forgotten."

Grafton's life was suddenly cut short, but friends and loved ones know his spirit lives on.

"He loved the water and being adventurous on the water," Chadwick said. "He died doing what he loved."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Grafton's family pay for memorial service fees. Go here to donate.



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